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A Layered Presence-Una presencia estratificada 
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A Layered Presence  / Una presencia estratificada 

Artists and art are multilayered.  

Each artist in this exhibition is a nuanced individual, with many layers informing their identity and the stories they tell through their art. Among them are their experiences, passions, and roles in our community. These layers are interwoven with strong personal ties to Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Uruguay, and Peru. 

Like the artists themselves, their art is also multifaceted—composed of layers of subject matter, materials, and meaning.  At the intersection of these layers, there is evidence of lived experiences. Artists also reckon with immigration and LGBTQIA+ issues as well as address family dynamics, ancestral relationships, healing, place, and more. While some of these layers reveal, others purposefully protect and conceal. 

The power to authentically tell one’s own story is significant. It can foster connection, promote understanding, preserve history, and signify resilience. For this exhibition, the artists wrote labels to accompany their art and recorded audio interviews. Using the Smartify app, scan a work of art to hear more from each artist. 

Los artistas y el arte contienen muchas capas.

Cada artista en esta exhibición es un individuo con matices, con muchas capas que informan sus identidades y las historias que optan por narrar mediante su arte. Entre ellas son sus experiencias, pasiones y rol en nuestra comunidad. Esas capas se entretejen con fuertes vínculos culturales a México, Cuba, la República Dominicana, Guatemala, Colombia, Uruguay y Perú.  

Tal como los artistas, su arte es también multifacético—compuesto de capas de temas, materiales, y significados. En las intersecciones de estas capas hay pruebas de las experiencias vividas. Los artistas también consideran la inmigración y asuntos LGBTQIA+, además de abordar la dinámica familiar, las relaciones ancestrales, la sanación, los lugares y más. Mientras algunas de estas capas revelan, otras a propósito ocultan y protegen. 

El poder relatar auténticamente la propia historia de uno es importante. Puede fomentar lazos, promover entendimiento, preservar la historia y señalar resiliencia. Para esta exhibición, los artistas escribieron sus propias etiquetas que acompañan su arte y las grabaciones de audio de sus entrevistas. Usando la aplicación Smartify, escanee una obra de arte para escuchar más de cada artista.

Featured artists

Emily Alvarez
Rodrigo “Rico” Alvarez
Maria Vasquez Boyd
Ruben Bryan Castillo
José Faus
Israel Alejandro García García
Cesar Lopez
Jessica Manco
To learn more about the artists in the exhibition, view the Spencer Art Reference Library guide.
Rodolfo Marrón III
Adolfo Gustavo Martinez
Jenny Mendez
Sue Moreno
Juan G. Moya
Carlos Ortiz-Gallo
Eulalia C. Pulido
Socorro Rico
Miguel Rivera
Chico Salvador Sierra
Kiki Serna
Vania Soto
Isaac Tapia
Hugo Ximello-Salido
Juan Moya Isaac Tapia Maria Vasquez Boyd Chico Sierra Socorro Rico

A Layered Presence / Una presencia estradificada is the third exhibition in the Nelson-Atkins initiative KC Art Now, which celebrates the talent of local artists.

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Generous support provided by Paul DeBruce and Linda Woodsmall-DeBruce, Evelyn Craft Belger and Richard Belger, Sara and Bill Morgan, and the Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation.

Organizado por El Museo de Arte Nelson-Atkins. Apoyo generosamente proporcionado por Paul DeBruce y Linda Woodsmall-DeBruce, Evelyn Craft Belger y Richard Belger, Sara y Bill Morgan, y la Fundación Jacques & Natasha Gelman.

Image credits:
Juan G. Moya, C/S K.C.—Con safos Kansas City, 2023. Colored pencil on wood panel, 36 inches diameter. Courtesy of the artist.
Isaac Tapia, Past and Present / Pasado y presente, 2023. Oil on canvas with audio, 72 1/2 x 47 7/8. Courtesy of the artist.
Maria Vasquez Boyd, Cicatrización (Healing), 2023. Sumi ink on paper, acrylic on wood, paper, copper leaf, metal, paper, glass, ceramic, paper mâché, leather, sage, feathers, bird nest, Holy Dirt, pumpkin, amethyst, quartz, malachite, pyrite, peridot, Uncrossing Powder, linen, shoe polish, candles, Palo Santo, sticks, porcupine quill, beads, felt, sequins, miniature lights, ribbon, postage stamps, raffia, hair, and Vicks VapoRub, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Chico Salvador Sierra, Mama Gave Me Soul, 2023. Acrylic on canvas, 71 7/8 x 32 ¼ inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Socorro Rico, In Mirror of Self / En espejo de uno mismo, 2023. Acrylic on wood panel with laser-cut detail, 36 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Adolfo Gustavo Martinez, La Adelita, 2023. Acrylic on Masonite, 71 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


Poets in Conversation
In support of the exhibit A Layered Presence  / Una presencia estratificada and of National Poetry Month, the Spencer Art Reference Library is pleased to present a discussion between the visual artist and poet José Faus and former Poet Laureate of Kansas, Huascar Medina. In the conversation these two artists will explore the creative process, their inspirations and the connections between visual art and writing.

  • Saturday, April 27 | 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Spencer Art Reference Library Reading Room
  • Public $5 | Members $3


MUXE: The Language of Art & Culture
Join us for the screening of the new documentary with an introduction and Q & A with the producer and director, Hugo Ximello Salido. Muxe: The Language of Art & Culture documents his efforts to learn about Muxe culture, appreciate its singular history and contemporary expression, and to help share its beauty with the world. The film illustrates Ximello-Salido’s artistic journey through the perception of gender fluidity in the state of Oaxaca, directly connecting with his artistic approach through 2D & 3D artwork.

  • Friday, June 28 | 7 p.m.
  • Atkins Auditorium
  • Public $13 | Members $10